Friday, September 01, 2006

Doing It Again In NYC

There's some bad news for large numbers of New York City students who didn't "make the grade" during summer school:
More than half of the public school students urged to attend summer school for failing to meet Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s stiff promotion criteria will be forced to repeat a grade this coming year because they were unable to raise their scores enough on exams.

The mixed results for the 13,751 third, fifth and seventh graders raised questions about the cost-effectiveness of the summer program created to help them. Forty-six percent of third graders and 41.3 percent of seventh graders who attended the program, called Summer Success Academy, improved their exam scores sufficiently to qualify for the next grade. Fifth graders fared slightly better, with 54.4 percent who attended the sessions scoring high enough to move on to the sixth grade.

The five-week summer academy, with a budget of $33 million, served 11,595 students this year. The City Council has estimated that the summer program costs about three times what the city spends per student during the regular academic year, on a per-week basis.

City officials said the results represented a substantial improvement by the students who attended summer school. They said that the mayor’s policies had both put an end to social promotion, in which students moved to the next grade without meeting academic requirements, and prompted many more children to work hard in summer school.

“If you look at seventh grade, especially, that’s a really good story,” said Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger, the city’s testing director. She noted that 28.3 percent of seventh graders whose scores were too low for promotion in the spring raised their scores in August. Last year, before the mayor’s promotion rules applied to that grade, only 13.5 percent raised their scores, she said.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the city teachers’ union, however, said the results were unimpressive and seemed little changed from less expensive summer school programs through the years. “You are basically seeing what we had historically seen in terms of summer school results,” she said. “Half the kids pass, and half the kids don’t pass.”
Read the Whole Thing.

I've always heard that repeating a grade (past K-3) doesn't help the child, but I'm not aware of what more recent research has indicated.

I wonder if the City's school system has an intervention program designed especially for children who are repeating a grade?

It would seem to me that simply "running the child through," the same instructional program that failed to meet the student's needs in the first place wouldn't be the solution.
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